I see it all the time. The countless posts about the “in-laws.” They don’t understand the military life. They don’t see their grown child enough. They don’t see the grand babies enough.
But this is not just a military issue, this is actually quite common for all types of families.
Whatever the case is, the holidays is usually the time when family gets together.
Sometimes it’s awkward, sometimes tense, rarely glorious – but undoubtedly, it elicits some type of emotion.
So how do you get those in-laws to be excited for your visit to turn that awkward or tense to happy and joyous family time?
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Bring a Gift
Bringing gifts often show that you took the time to think of them and is another way to thank them for having you and the family in your home.
And when you are first starting out, before babies, you definitely want to win over your significant other’s parents.
Some protective momma’s look at women as taking their boys from them and some dads look at all men as undeserving – you want to kill this from the start.
Whether it be a bottle of her favorite wine, a framed picture of the kids, her favorite scented candle, or a six pack of his favorite beer – a small gift is an appreciative token.
The holidays bring big feasts, but any time of the year, this tip can be applied.
Show that you can get your hands dirty. Ask to help in the kitchen by peeling potatoes, cutting vegetables, or even cleaning dishes. My mother-in-law cooks and enjoys to cook. However, I still ask to help with small tasks just to help out in some way.
Watch sports with your father-in-law (my father loves this), or RV shows like my father-in-law likes. Help him change the oil in his car or fix whatever he is fixing.
The idea is to just chip in some way to show you care.
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Compliment and Smile
Kill ’em with kindness. Things have not always been easy with my own in-laws. Those that have easy relationships with their in-laws from start to finish are lucky.
However, you can take this small amount of time to make your partner happy.
Find something to compliment – their new decor, the garden, a new haircut, the holiday scent in their house – anything.
And regardless of how you feel, just smile. Put differences aside and smile. You will feel better, at least for a little while, for focusing on the positive.
You never know when your small actions may make a change from those tense moments to happy ones.
Win One Over
If all else fails, choose one (if you can), and win that one over.
For women, it may be easier to win over the dad.
For men, mom’s may be easier.
Connect, get interested, share. Show them why your loved one loves you.
Most likely, if you get one on your side, they will work on the other on your behalf.
I have been in those shoes. We did not visit enough, I came off the wrong way, and things went horrible for a while. However, it was not permanent.
I found a way to let things go and slowly worked on building up my relationship again. You CAN too!
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About the Author
Kelsey Ramirez is a veteran elementary school teacher, military wife, and mom to two daughters. She is the founder of Anchored Together ~ By Land, Air, or Sea and owns and operates Kelsey et Soleil, a digital consulting agent in blog management, copy editing, and research and writing. Kelsey loves to travel, write, and create amazing content. She has her Masters in Technology, which she uses to learn all new things digital.
With three decades of military support, Kelsey’s mission is to help new and existing military families in their unique adventures through all military topics including PCSing, budgeting, school choice and rights, and especially just being a military spouse.